Equator Prize Winners Announced, Awards will be Presented During Rio+20

Mar 23, 2012

New York - The Equator Initiative announced yesterday the names of twenty-five local community groups to receive the Equator Prize 2012 in recognition of their outstanding contributions to sustainable development. Among the winners that were selected from 812 nominations submitted by communities in 113 countries across the developing world, was India’s Shashwat group, a grassroots initiative that was developed in response to the displacement of Koli Mahadeo, Thakarsand Katkaris tribal peoples by construction of the Dimbhe dam.

The winners will be celebrated at a high level event during the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. They will receive a monetary award and participate in a ‘community summit’ that will run in parallel to the larger conference.

“We wanted to make this a truly global award, so expanded eligibility to all countries receiving support from UNDP. The overwhelming response from 113 countries in 13 languages tells us there is a world of communitybased innovation out there, and that demand for a better future transcends borders,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.

“These community efforts are heroic and inspiring. And that is what the Equator Prize is all about – shining a spotlight on the women and men on the front lines of sustainable development. At UNDP, we are so deeply proud of leading this initiative and giving communities a voice.”

Many of the foundational issues to be discussed at the landmark Rio+20 Conference are represented in the pool of winners: food security, sustainable jobs, freshwater access, sustainable energy, oceans, and more. The Equator Initiative is a partnership that brings together the UN, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

The Equator Prize, which has been endorsed by former Heads of State Gro Harlem Brundtland and Oscar Arias, philanthropist Ted Turner, a host of Nobel laureates, and celebrities Gisele Bündchen and Edward Norton, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year.

Current partners of the initiative include: Conservation International; Convention on Biological Diversity; Ecoagriculture Partners; Fordham University; German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; International Union for Conservation of Nature; The Nature Conservancy; Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Rare; Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA); UNEP; UNDP; and UN Foundation.

Contact information

Lei Zong, Tel: +1 212 906 5920, Mobile: +1917 822 5490, lei.zong@undp.org, or equatorinitiative@undp.org, or visit www.EquatorInitiative.org.

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